Irate Floridian joins class-action suit against election
Bronwyn Beistle
November 26, 2000

While the national media focuses on Palm Beach County, I think about a police roadblock near a predominantly black polling place in Wakulla county. I think about one in five votes for Gore thrown out in every precinct of my adopted county, Duval. I think about a man convicted of vote fraud put in charge of Republican absentee ballots in Dade county. I think about carpools of African-American voters in Hillsborough stopped and asked for a taxi license. I think I'm glad I voted in Alachua County.

Are we returning to 1960? The report of a roadblock (see APB News, Nov. 8, 2000) near Tallahassee, set up near a predominantly black polling station by Florida Highway Patrol, suggests so. Evidently state troopers there harassed young black men going to and from the polls. Even highway patrol officials are admitting this roadblock was not conducted "according to protocol" but remain equally adamant that their officers were "simply doing their job." Funny, I haven't seen much about this on CNN. They seem much more interested in whether chad is pregnant, dimpled, or hanging by a thread. Sounds like a soap opera.

Corinne Brown evidently thinks we might be going back to pre-Civil Rights days as well, and no wonder. As Brown said on CSPAN last week, "Those are black votes, and I'm calling the Justice Department." Indeed.

It's true that 42% of the votes thrown away in Duval county were from the predominantly African-American precincts 7,8,9, and 10. Yet again, the media seems far more interested in debating whether voters in Palm Beach County should be allowed to vote with their intentions or be declared un-American due to stupidity.

Don't get me wrong. I am concerned over what happened in Palm Beach County. Not only was the ballot confusing, there are allegations that the holes in the voting machine did not accurately line up with the holes in the paper, and I'm the last one to believe that a seventy-year-old American Jewish woman would vote for Pat Buchanan, who thinks Hitler was a pretty neat guy.

But I find it curious that the mainstream media seem so interested in focusing on a voting snafu that could be ascribed to the error of the voters, rather than those that reveal outright intimidation, or outright fraud. For instance, not many papers or television stations seem interested in discussing how Xavier Suarez, who had been previously convicted of vote fraud involving absentee ballots in his unsuccessful attempt to become mayor of Miami, ended up in charge of all Republican absentee ballots in Dade county.

The irregularities that have been discovered over the past three weeks are too numerous for me to describe, or even list, here. Some of these irregularities may be due to random incompetence. Some of the allegations of irregularities might even be baseless. But, to quote Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, look at the number of them. It has long exceeded the number that suggests that something was terribly wrong with this election in Florida. Whether that something was a statewide conspiracy on the part of Jeb Bush to elect his older brother to the presidency, as some claim, or mere statewide incompetence and antiquated machines, among which I include racist state troopers, it is obvious that such an election cannot, must not be allowed to determine the next president of anything that calls itself a democracy.

That is why I have added my name to a class suit contesting this election. That, and the fact that statistics suggest that one in five votes for Gore were tossed out regardless of precinct in Duval county (see That is, regardless of whether the precinct was predominantly rich, poor, Democratic, Republican, black or white. More black votes were thrown out, certainly, because African-Americans in Duval county overwhelmingly voted for Gore. But the rate is the same regardless of precinct, and does not correlate with data analyzed for Lee county, which is similar to Duval in many respects. Until someone can explain to me how 20% of voters for Al Gore in every precinct developed some mysterious ailment which prevented them from voting correctly, I will not accept the results of this election as legal.

Of course, it would help if someone could explain to me how John Stafford, our Supervisor of Elections, could have mistaken 27,000 discarded votes for 300. On Tuesday night, he informed Mike Langtry of the Democratic Party that not many votes had been thrown out. When pressed for numbers, he said: "Two or three hundred."

previous article [current issue] next article
Search | Archives | Calendar | Directory | About / Subscriptions |

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional eXTReMe Tracker